Cathay Williams was born a slave in Missouri. In 1861, when Union forces arrived, she was designated as contraband and served as a cook and washerwomen in Philip Sheridan’s army. In 1866, she enlisted in the U.S. Regular Army under the name of “William Cathay.” While hospitalized in 1868, she was discovered to be a woman, and given an honorable discharge. Later she signed up with an emerging all-black regiment that became known as the Buffalo Soldiers. She is the only known African-American women to enlist and serve disguised as a man and the only known female Buffalo Soldier.
In 1866, the 10th Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. Army, an all-black cavalry, was formed at Ft. Leavenworth. The nickname buffalo soldiers came from Native American tribes they fought during the Indian Wars. The regiments later served in the Spanish-American War, including the Battle of San Juan Hill, where five Buffalo Soldiers were given the Medal of Honor.
This Cathay Williams mug is part of our US Army and African-American Series profiling outstanding men and women who have helped shape our country in important and positive ways.
The biographical History Mugs were created to teach and inspire individuals to learn about our diverse and interesting history. The biographies were researched and written by history enthusiast, Robert Compton. He colorized most of the historic photos and images used on the mugs, which were originally black and white or sepia tone. The images and biographies are imprinted on mugs at his studio in rural Vermont.
- Mugs are food and microwave safe.
- To preserve photographic quality we recommend hand washing.
- Mugs are usually shipped within 3-5 days.
- Shipping charges are lower when buying multiple mugs.